Best Pistol Squat Workouts for Powerful Legs and Glutes

Pistol Squat Workouts are an excellent way to improve your leg strength, mobility and skill.

A tricky exercise to master, they augment full body coordination and proprioception as well.

How to Get your First Pistol Squat

Best Drills for Pistol Squats

Best Pistol Squat Progressions

The Step In Trick for Pistol Squats

Pistol Squat Workouts

Scroll through to find the perfect Pistol Squat Workout for you.

Workout 1

For time:

  • 100 glute bridges
  • 90 mountain climbers
  • 80 goblet squats
  • 70 reverse lunges
  • 60 Romanian deadlifts
  • 50 sumo squats
  • 40 hip thrusts
  • 30 DB hamstring curls
  • 20 side clamshell raises, each side
  • 10 pistol squats, each side

Workout 2

For Time

  • 100 Alternating Pistols

Every minute on the minute starting at 0:00, perform:

  • 10 Push-Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform 100 Pistols. Every minute on the minute starting at 0:00, perform 10 Push-Ups.

Score is the time on the clock when the 100th Pistol is completed.

Man with nike metcons in gym
Stay strong ©Bastien Plu

Tips and Strategy

Switch legs every rep for pistols to keep the legs fresh. Knock out the pushups quickly so you can recover as you pistol squat. Find a regression for pistols if you cannot keep proper alignment with your knees and ankles.

Intended Stimulus

Big butt and leg burner here. Trying to get some squatting intensity and volume without weights.

Try a Squat Wedge

Movement Standards

Pistol squats must go below parallel, Push-Ups must have chest touching the ground and arms locked out at the top.

Scaling

If Pistols are hard, find a tough progression that works for you. Add a counterbalance in your hands, start from a box, stand on a box, or sub for cossack squats.

Workout 3

10 Rounds for Time

  • Push-Ups (3-6-9-12-15-18-21-24-27-30 reps)
  • Pull-Ups (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 reps)
  • Dips (2-4-6-8-10-12-14-16-18-20 reps)
  • Chin-Ups (10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps)
  • Pistols (5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5 reps)

In the first round complete 3 push-ups, 1 pull-up, 2 dips, 10 chin-ups and 5 pistols. In the next round complete 6, 2, 7, 10 and 5 of each movement, and so on for 10 rounds. The difference between a pull-up and a chin-up is the hand position on the pull-up bar (hands should face inward for pull-ups, outward for chin-ups).

Workout 4

For Time

  • 120 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 100 Wall Ball Shots (30/20 lb)
  • 80 Box Jump Overs (24/20 in)
  • 60 Deadlift (185/135 lb)
  • 40 Pistols
  • 20 calorie Assault Bike

Workout 5

5 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Lateral Barbell Burpees
  • 12 Overhead Lunges (105/75 lb)
  • 9 Thrusters (105/75 lb)
  • 6 Alternating Pistols

Time Cap: 20 minutes

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 5 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Alternating Pistols is completed.

Tips and Strategy

Some tips would be to pick a weight that is light enough to hold on to the whole time but heavy enough that you struggle.

You should not pump out the Lunges and Thrusters like you’re holding a feather, but it shouldn’t be so heavy that you’re doing singles or sets of 2. Keep moving through the Burpees, jump them back and step them up to keep your heart rate up but not too high.

Pistol squat with foot grab
Try the foot grab technique ©Bastien Plu

Lastly, with is being so little reps of Pistols, you should be able to knock these out in a short amount of time.

Intended Stimulus

This should take between 16-22 minutes. Time cap is 25 minutes. You want to keep moving through the Burpees and Pistols. Barbell weights should be moderate-moderately heavy weight, something that you could do in 1-2 sets during the workout.

The intended stimulus was to be a longer workout with complex barbell movements paired with movements that will get your heart rate up.

Scaling Options

5 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Burpees
  • 12 Front Rack Lunges (105/75 lb)
  • 9 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
  • 6 Alternating Pistols to a Box

Workout 6 – Mary

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 5 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 10 Pistols (alternating legs)
  • 15 Pull-Ups

On a 20-minute clock, complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written: 5 Handstand Push-Ups followed by 10 Pistols followed by 15 Pull-Ups.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 20-minute clock stops.

Good Scores for “Mary”

– Beginner: 7-8 rounds

– Intermediate: 9-12 rounds

– Advanced: 13-16 rounds

– Elite: 17+ rounds

Tips and Strategy

“Mary” is a WOD where you should go mostly unbroken. The workout is nicely divided into upper body pushing (Handstand Push-Ups), lower body (Pistols), and upper body pulling (Pull-Ups), making major muscle fatigue less of a factor.

In contrast, you’d need to do several small sets in a WOD like “JT” where the three exercises all require upper body pushing: Handstand Push-Ups, Ring Dips, and Push-Ups.

Intended Stimulus

“Mary” should feel really physically challenging. You’ve got 3 difficult gymnastics movements to perform and even though there aren’t any monostructural cardiovascular movements in this WOD (Running, Rowing, Jump Rope, etc.) you should feel your lungs burning thanks to your speed. Don’t use “Mary” as a time to work on your gymnastic skills–you’ll lose “Mary’s” benefit if you stare at the wall for minutes at a time, waiting for a Handstand Push-Up to happen.

Scaling Options

“Mary” is a WOD that requires above-average gymnastics skills: Handstand Push-Ups, Pistols, and Pull-Ups. Scale the skill level of these movements (see: Handstand Push-Up Scaling | Pistol Scaling | Pull-Up Scaling) so you can move smoothly throughout this WOD. You’ll lose the intended stimulus of “Mary” if you treat the workout like a skill session.

Intermediate Option

20 Minute AMRAP

  • 2 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 6 Pistols (alternating legs)
  • 10 Pull-Ups

Beginner Option

20 Minute AMRAP

  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 10 Alternating Stationary Lunges
  • 15 Ring Rows

Workout 7

AMRAP in 14 minutes

  • 17 Double-Unders
  • 8 Bar Muscle-Ups
  • 20 Pistols
  • 17 Power Cleans (135/95 lb)

Workout 8

5 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Single-Leg Glute Bridges (per leg)
  • 20 Mountain Climbers
  • 20 Air Squats
  • 20 Hollow Rocks

With a running clock, complete 5 rounds of the prescribed work in the order written as fast as possible (“For Time”).

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Hollow Rocks is completed.

Movement Standards

Single-Leg Glute Bridge: Lay on the ground with your back, hips, and feet planted firmly. Place both of the feet close to the hips and then raise one leg.

Lift your hips towards the sky while keeping one foot planted on the ground. Make sure to squeeze the glutes and keep the core tight. Lower the hips down to the ground for one repetition.

Workout 9

21-15-9 Reps for Time

  • Pull-Ups
  • Pistols
  • Kettlebell Swings (32/34 kg)
Man working hard during pistol squat workouts

Workout 10

For Time

  • 10 minute Plank Hold

Every time you rest, perform:

  • 4 Burpees
  • 6 Hand Release Push-Ups
  • 8 Alternating Pistols

With a running clock, perform a Plank Hold for an accumulated time of 10 minutes. Every time you rest from the Plank Hold, perform 4 Burpees, 6 Hand Release Push-Ups, and 8 Alternating Pistols.

Score is the time on the clock when the 10-minute Plank Hold is completed.

Workout 11

5 Rounds in 19 minutes

  • 1 minute Chair Dips
  • 1 minute Alternating Pistols
  • 1 minute Burpees
  • 1 minute Rest

On a 19-minute clock, athlete must accomplish as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of each movement for 5 rounds. Athlete will have 1 minute to perform each movement every round, followed by 1 minute of rest between each round.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed before the 19-minute clock stops.

Workout 12

For Time

800 metre Run

Then 2 Rounds of:

  • 50 Burpees
  • 40 Pull-Ups
  • 30 Pistols
  • 20 Kettlebell Swings (1.5/1 pood)
  • 10 Handstand Push-Ups

Then,

  • 800 metre Run

Workout 13

For Time

  • 100 Burpees
  • 75 Pull-Ups
  • 50 Pistols
  • 25 Power Cleans (145/100 lb)
  • 12 Rope Climbs (15 ft)
  • 400 metre Run with Plate (45/35 lb)

With a running clock, complete the work described in the order written as fast as possible.

Woman during pistol squat workouts
Balance and strength ©Bastien Plu

Score is the time on the clock when the 400 metre weighted Run is completed.

Workout 14

For Time

  • 4 Pistols
  • 25 Kettlebell Swings (54/35 lb)
  • 50 Push-Ups
  • 75 Pull-Ups
  • 50 Push-Ups
  • 25 Kettlebell Swings (54/35 lb)
  • 4 Pistols

Workout 15

With a Running Clock in 13 minutes

From 0:00-10:00, AMRAP of:

  • 20 Alternating Pistols
  • 10 Power Cleans (135/95 lb)

Then from 10:00-13:00, establish:

  • 1 rep max Power Clean

On a 13-minute clock, perform as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) in the first 10 minutes. Then in the remaining time, establish a 1 rep max Power Clean.

This workout will have two scores. Score A is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed in the first 10 minutes. Score B is the heaviest load successfully lifted for the 1 rep max Power Clean.

Workout 16

21-15-9 Reps for Time

  • Stiff-Legged Deadlifts (pick load & object)
  • Left Leg Pistols
  • Right Leg Pistols

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Athlete must complete 21 reps of each movement before moving on to 15 reps and 9 reps.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Right Leg Pistols is completed.

Movement Standard

Stiff-Legged Deadlift: This is similar to a standard Deadlift aside from the barbell moving away from the shin to have less tension on the lower back.

Workout 17

3 Rounds for Time

  • 50 Pistols (alternating legs)
  • 7 Pull-Ups
  • 10 Hang Power Cleans (175/125 lb)

Workout 18

AMRAP in 15 minutes

  • 2 Legless Rope Climbs (15 ft)
  • 30 Alternating Pistols
  • 15 Burpee Box Step Overs (24/20 in)

On a 15-minute clock, perform as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 15-minute clock stops.

Workout 19

For Time

Buy-In:

  • 50 Double-Unders

Then, 30-20-10 reps of:

  • Alternating Pistols
  • Russian Kettlebell Swings (2/1.5 pood)

Cash-Out:

  • 50 Double-Unders

Scaling

For Time

Buy-In:

  • 75 Single-Unders

Then, 30-20-10 reps of:

  • Alternating Box Squat Pistols
  • Russian Kettlebell Swings (1/.5 pood)

Cash-Out:

  • 75 Single-Unders

Pistol Squat Workouts 20

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 2 Rope Climbs (15 ft)
  • 4 Deficit Strict Handstand Push-Ups (3.5/2 in)
  • 10 Pistols (each leg)

Wear a Weight Vest (10/6 kg)

On a 20-minute clock, complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written. Wear a Weight Vest throughout the workout.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 20-minute clock stops.

One squat left!
One left ©Bastien Plu

Scaling

At Home Version

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 2 Burpees
  • 4 Hand Release Push-Ups
  • 10 Lunges (each leg)
  • 4 Burpees
  • 4 Hand Release Push-Ups
  • 10 Lunges (each leg)

Continue with this pattern, adding 2 reps to the Burpees each round.

Pistol Squat Workouts 21

For Time

  • 50 Pistols
  • 25 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 40 Pistols
  • 20 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 30 Pistols
  • 15 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 20 Pistols
  • 10 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 10 Pistols
  • 5 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups

This workout is scored by time to complete the descending couplet.

Scaling

Intermediate

For Time

  • 50 Box-Assisted Pistols
  • 25 Pull-Ups
  • 40 Box-Assisted Pistols
  • 20 Pull-Ups
  • 30 Box-Assisted Pistols
  • 15 Pull-Ups
  • 20 Box-Assisted Pistols
  • 10 Pull-Ups
  • 10 Box-Assisted Pistols
  • 5 Pull-Ups

Beginner

For Time

  • 50 Banded Pistols
  • 25 Ring Rows
  • 40 Banded Pistols
  • 20 Ring Rows
  • 30 Banded Pistols
  • 15 Ring Rows
  • 20 Banded Pistols
  • 10 Ring Rows
  • 10 Banded Pistols
  • 5 Ring Rows

Pistol Squat Workouts 22

4 Rounds for Time

  • 8 Hang Power Snatch (95/75 lb)
  • 6 Lateral Bar Burpee hop overs
  • 4/4 a side Pistol Squats

Cash Out

  • 30 Toes to Bar

Keep a steady pace during the 4 rounds, this is a fast workout. For the cash out, use whats left in the tank to finish the T2B’s unbroken or in two sets of 15.

Pistol Squat Workouts 23

EMOM in 30 minutes

  • Minute 1: 20 Alternating Pistols
  • Minute 2: Hand Release Push-Ups
  • Minute 3: 10 Burpees
  • Repeat 10x

On a 30-minute clock, every minute on the minute (EMOM) perform the prescribed work. Minute 1 starts with 20 Alternating Pistols, minute 2 with 15 Hand Release Push-Ups, and minute 3 with 10 Burpees. Repeat this sequence 10x.

Score is the total repetitions completed before the 30-minute clock stops.

Pistol Squat Workouts 24

For Time

  • 50-40-30-20-10 Air Squats
  • 45-35-25-15-5 Push-Ups
  • 400 metre Run
  • 40-32-24-16-8 Left-Arm Dumbbell Snatches (50/35 lb)
  • 36-28-20-12-4 Right-Arm Dumbbell Snatches (50/35 lb)
  • 400 metre Run
  • 30-24-18-12-6 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
  • 27-21-15-9-3 Pull-Ups
  • 400 metre Run
  • 20-16-12-8-4 Dumbbell Burpee Hang Squat Clean Thrusters (50/35 lb)
  • 18-14-10-6-2 Ring Dips
  • 400 metre Run
  • 10-8-6-4-2 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 9-7-5-3-1 Pistols (L+R=1)
  • 400 metre Run

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work. Athlete must perform 50 Air Squats and 45 Push-Ups down to 10 Air Squats and 5 Push-Ups. Run 400 metres. Then, athlete must complete 40 Left-Arm Dumbbell Snatches and 36 Right-Arm Dumbbell Snatches down to 8 Left-Arm Dumbbell Snatches and 4 Right-Arm Dumbbell Snatches. Run 400 metres.

After the Run, perform 30 Box Jumps and 27 Pull-Ups down to 6 Box Jumps and 3 Pull-Ups. Run 400 metres. Then, perform 20 reps of the Dumbell Burpee Hang Squat Clean Thrusters complex and 18 Ring Dips down to 4 Dumbbell Complexes and 2 Ring Dips. Run 400 metres. Then, complete 10 Handstand Push-Ups and 9 Pistols down to 2 Handstand Push-Ups and 1 Pistol. Finally, Run 400 metres.

Score is the time on the clock when the workout is completed.

Pistol Squat Workouts 25

For Time

  • 800 metre Run
  • 40 Right-Arm Kettlebell Swings (35/26 lb)
  • 40 Left-Arm Kettlebell Swings (35/26 lb)
  • 40 Weighted Pistols (35/26 lb)
  • 800 metre Run

With a running clock, complete the prescribed work in the order written as fast as possible (“For Time”).

Score is the time on the clock when the last 800 metre Run is completed.

Woman in gym doing pistol squat workouts.
Focus under pressure ©Bastien Plu

Tips and Strategy

The goal time domain is 10:00-15:00. For Rx, athletes are required to be able to perform multiple sets of 10 reps in a row for the Kettlebell Swings and Pistols. Finish the second 800 metre Run faster than the first.

Pistol Squat Workouts 26

AMRAP in 20 minutes

On a 20-minute clock, as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 20-minute clock stops.

Scaling Options

AMRAP in 20 minutes

Pistol Squat Workouts 27

For Time

  • 21 Weighted Pistols (65/45 lb dumbbell)
  • 15 Clean-and-Jerks (185/135 lb)
  • 9 Muscle-Ups

15 minutes Rest

Then, For Time:

  • 21 Parallette Handstand Push-Ups
  • 15 Snatches (165/115 lb)
  • 9 Muscle-Ups

With a running clock, complete the first part of the workout as fast as possible. Rest exactly 15 minutes, then complete the second part of the workout as fast as possible. Score is the total time elapsed after the last muscle-up; also record score from each part of the workout separately.

Pistol Squat Workouts 28

For Time

  • 3-6-9-12-15-18-21-24-27-30 Stiff-Legged Deadlifts (pick load & object)
  • 20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2 Alternating Pistols

With a running clock, complete the prescribed work as fast as possible (“For Time“). Athlete will start with 3 Stiff-Legged Deadlifts and 20 Alternating Pistols. For the Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, the reps will increase by 3 every round. For the Alternating Pistols, the reps will decrease by 2 every round.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Alternating Pistols is completed.

Pistol Squat Workouts 29

For Time

1,500 Accumulated Repetitions

Choose freely from this pool of movements:

  • Air Squats
  • Arch Ups
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Lunges
  • Pistols
  • Push-Up
  • Sit-Ups
  • Step-Ups
  • Up Downs

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Athlete can choose whatever rep scheme and movements from the given pool to accumulate the 1,500 reps.

Score is the time on the clock when the 1,500th episode is completed.

Pistol Squat Workouts 30

AMRAP 15:

  • 8 pistol squats
  • 12 dumbbell squat cleans
  • 16 hand release pushups

@22,5/15kg

The pistol squats and dumbbell squat cleans are both alternating.

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